Forensics: not the dead body kind


If you have a love for the theatrical, a desire to be on a stage, and you find joy in public speaking and researching, you’ll find yourself right at home on the forensics team.

“In all honesty, my favorite part of being on the forensics team is when any one of us succeeds,” senior Ryan Sutton, the team’s captain said. “Maybe it’s my being the captain of the team, but to see the members put forth an effort to speak publicly and do something that many people won’t do out of fear is an incredible sight. It’s even more incredible when they succeed.”

The forensics team has many different events they can do, from informational presentations to reciting poetry. Under the umbrella of forensics is Sales, Oratory, Broadcasting, Informative, Extemporaneous, Impromptu, Poetry, Dramatic Interpretation, Duo, Multiple, Storytelling, and Prose. The multitude of choices gives the students many different ways to express their love for forensics. Ryan takes part in an event called Extemporaneous or Extemp. He draws a topic and then has 30 minutes to prepare a 7-minute speech with reliable sources.

“Extemp combines the ability to quickly prepare a coherent speech with the ability to analyze different aspects of the political sphere,” Ryan said. “While stressful at times, I wouldn’t trade it for any other event.”

Junior Francesca Duong, another member of the team, feels similarly about the event that she participates in: Sales. Sales is where you have to give a 5-8 minutes sales pitch on a product of your choosing, with people often bringing in other props like posters to give their presentations more depth.

“It’s really cool to see all the time and effort people put into their Sales presentation,” Francesca said.

But like any sport or club, forensics comes with its own set of difficulties.

“[One of] the hardest part of forensics is that you [mostly] participate in individual events,” Ryan said. “As such, while the team tries to help each other, we are all in our respective niches. I, as an Extemp speaker, am not the best person to come to for advice in preparing a 10-minute long speech for Oratory or reciting poetry in an interesting and unique way for Poetry. I help where I can, and so does everyone, but you are the expert in your field. You pull your own weight in the team, not because the team is going to leave you behind, but because if you can’t do it, who can?”

Another big struggle for the forensics team is the district’s lack of funding. When the school pulled its already minimal funding from the forensics team, they were forced to turn to other ways to raise money. From selling cookies to searching for a local business that would be willing to sponsor them, the team has been very busy making the money that keeps the club running.

“The unfortunate truth is that, while the money the school provided to the forensics team was not an incredible amount of money–and we still needed to do the bake sales to make sure we as a team could go to the tournaments we go to– it was helpful,” Ryan said. “The lack of funding has placed pressure on us as a team, but we’re forced to adapt to the situation and, for lack of a better term, try harder.”

However, through all their struggles, the forensics team continues to persevere. No matter what gets thrown at them, they continue to love what they do.

“My freshman year, I did an informative speech on Niccolo Paganini,” senior Daniel Slaw, a member of the forensics team, said. “Informative speeches in forensics use posters on easels as part of the presentation and judging. I was never good at art, so I made basic, unprofessional posters, but supplemented them with an extremely sui generis part to my presentation. I would play one of Niccolo Paganini’s caprices as an intro to my speech. At the state tournament that year, a parent came up to me after I finished around. She complimented me and said that my speech was inspiring and enlightening. That compliment made all of my efforts feel validated, and it has led me to continue forensics to this day.”